Rationale: Learning to read silently increases reading speed and comprehension. Voluntary reading is important for children and can be achieved when free reading time and teacher limited choice is given. On a daily basis, students should have time to read books that they chose silently.
Materials: library of books (section for ability level), nonfiction books, picture books such as Dr. Seuss, checklists for assessment of comprehension which includes summary of story and questions about the story
1. Start by explaining silent reading as reading in your head without talking. Explain that it is fun to choose a book and curl up in a corner to read silently. Say "silent reading will help you read better too!"
2. "Who has ever picked out a book by themselves? What kind of books do you like to read? Today, you can pick a book from the library (in the designated section) and we will talk about how you can read it silently." Review cross checking by telling them to go back and re-read words they don't know and the sentences they are in.
3. "Reading silently is even quieter than reading softly or whisper reading. You can hear the words inside your head. Try to read the first line of your book silently. Watch me read my first line silently. Did my lips make a sound?"
4. Allow students to find a spot in the room and read silently for 5 minutes.
5. Discuss with children why you read silently and why they should. Tell them when they read silently, they can concentrate and really remember what they read. Also, they can read faster when they read "in their heads."
6. For assessment, note children's attitudes by checking whether they seem involved or distracted and whether they look forward to or complain about silent reading time. Ask question to check for reading comprehension. Also, ask students to summarize what they read.
Reference: Eldredge, J. L. (1995). Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 19.
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